Formula One is closing on an agreement to have 1000bhp engines based on the current V6 turbos from 2017 onwards.
Over the winter pressure to up the power of the engines and rethink the look of the cars grew from certain stakeholders in the sport. Mercedes had been reluctant to completely rethink the layout of the power units or revert to V8s, but now it seems a middle ground has been found.
Bernie Ecclestone has been one of the main supporters of 1000bhp but also wanted a return to V8 engines as recently as last week. Now he appears happy to give his blessing to 1000bhp V6 turbos as long as they are supplied to the smaller teams at a reasonable price
"We need to make the car more difficult to drive," Ecclestone said: "But the two things that have to happen is that whoever supplies engines to the teams have to supply the same engine that they use. If it's going to be the current engine upgraded to 1000bhp then good, but they need to supply it at a price the teams can afford to pay."
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said the current engines will be producing up to 950bhp with normal development by 2017, so the best way to reach the 1000bhp mark is to up the fuel flow. The engines are currently limited to 100kg of fuel per race and a fuel flow of 100kg per hour, but Wolff warned that upping the fuel flow would result in increased costs when redesigning the engine.
"In 2017 these engines between all the teams are going to have north of 900bhp, and then it's a question of what do you want to tell [that story] and how do you want to market that," he said. "Does it make a big difference to have 950bhp or 1000bhp?
"I think there are easy tools to increase the horsepower and this is increasing fuel flow. If you want to increase the fuel flow by 10kg/hour or 20kg/hour you will have more than 1000bhp, but you have to redesign crucial components of the engine to make them more reliable and that again involves a lot of development cost.
"We all understand that we want to have a spectacular formula, not only on the chassis side but also on the power unit side, and this is what is going to be discussed at the moment, how to achieve it.
"I think all engine manufacturers are pretty clear that the current engine architecture with a hybrid component needs to stay in place. That is the direction we have headed to and this is at least at the moment the current status between Ferrari, Renault, Honda and Mercedes."
Wolff said a valuable meeting had taken place this weekend in Bahrain with Ecclestone and the FIA's Charlie Whiting.
"The discussion about 1000bhp engines has been around for quite a while and I appreciate very well that it needs to be a spectacular formula and if that's the way forward we should continue to work on it. There are various groups coming together in terms of how the 2017 rules can look like in terms of what the power unit and chassis can look like. Yesterday there was a very valuable meeting; Charlie was there and Bernie was there and concepts are being put in place to make it a spectacular new formula in 2017."